As Stena Line's newest ferry Stena Estrid nears Irish Sea waters on its 10,000 mile journey from North-Western China, excitement is building in freight markets on both sides of the Irish Sea.
The first of five next generation Stena Line RoPax vessels to be completed at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard, Stena Estrid will start service in January on the Holyhead to Dublin route with a number of key features which will appeal specifically to freight customers in the UK, Ireland and beyond.
David Holderness, Stena Line's Freight Commercial Manager (Irish Sea South) has said;
"We are absolutely thrilled to be the first route to welcome the first in a new generation of Stena Line vessels. The Holyhead - Dublin service is one of the most strategically important commerical links between Britain and Ireland which is why we made the business decision to operate Stena Estrid on this route. We believe that Stena Estrid will be a 'game changer'."
Here are five reasons why Stena Estrid is the best way to travel on the Irish Sea.
At 215 metres in length, Stena Estrid will provide deck space of 3,100 lane meters, a massive increase of more than 50% in freight capacity compared to the predecessor Stena Superfast X on her popular freight schedule.
Estrid has a seperate car deck meaning that her main decks will primarily be dedicated to freight traffic.
Stena Estrid's clear and unobstructed drive-through decks with two-tier/double lane access will bring speedier loading and disembarkation and more efficient turn-rounds - vital areas of focus as freight volumes and the mix of unaccompanied traffic continue to increase.
With 5.2 metre height on both main decks, Stena Estrid has full capability to carry high vehicles, and her open deck space allows a good mix of hazardous loads and units with the requirement to keep fridge motors running.
Increased weight limits on the ship's ramps and wider access also give greater scope for project cargo. For units requiring electrical connection there are ample plug-in points for both 440v and 230v supplies.
Amongst the many new and improved features onboard, Stena Estrid has a dedicated and entirely separate 170-seat Truckers Lounge with six 55" television screens. There are many more comfort cabins onboard offering freight drivers high quality Dux mattresses and a maximum of two drivers to a cabin.
All cabins are equipped with Bazeport Infotainment televisions and a fresh new design. Passenger areas are more spacious with a spectacular atrium feature and lots of natural light flowing through large panoramic windows.
Other features include two movie lounges with three 65" screens in each, a new Hygge Recline lounge, a bigger restaurant and bar, and an even better Stena Shopping experience to buy presents for the loved ones after a long trip away.
Sweden is ranked as one of the most sustainable countries in the world, and as a Swedish company, sustainability is a key part of Stena Line's strategy.
Stena Estrid has a wide range of features to reduce its environmental footprint, including lower emissions, a significant reduction in single-use plastic onboard, gentle anti-fouling hull paint containing a bio-repellent ingredient, bio-degradable lube oils (for propellers etc), multi-fraction recycling facilities, LED lighting in all areas, and solar films on windows to save energy.
Following the introduction of Stena Estrid on the Holyhead to Dublin route, a further two next generation ferries are also destined for the Irish Sea.
Stena Edda is expected to commence operations from Liverpool to Belfast next spring, with a third vessel Stena Embla to be introduced on the same route in early 2021. The introduction of these ships will increase freight capacity on the Liverpool to Belfast route by 20%.